Few names in medicine have the stature and impact that the Johns Hopkins medical school has. But with such an intimidating reputation comes some necessary soul-searching for applicants. Are you a natural leader? Do you have a strong desire to learn throughout your life? Are you driven to develop a medical practice that’s deeply informed by the social and environmental factors shaping public health? If all of this applies to you, then you may indeed be a great fit for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine MD program.
Hopkins’ medical school is among the oldest and most historically progressive medical schools in Maryland and in the United States, and year after year attracts many of the brightest minds in medicine, both as students and faculty. Our guide will help you understand the structure of Johns Hopkins medical school Genes to Society curriculum, its various degree programs, and all the relevant admissions data you need to increase your chances for success.
Disclaimer: BeMo does not endorse or affiliate with any universities, colleges, or official test administrators. The content has been developed based on the most recent publicly available data provided from the official university website. However, you should always check the statistics/requirements with the official school website for the most up to date information. You are responsible for your own results.
>>Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here.<<
Listen to the blog!
“The mission of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is to educate medical students, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in accordance with the highest professional standards; to prepare clinicians to practice patient-centered medicine of the highest standard; and to identify and answer fundamental questions in the mechanisms, prevention, and treatment of disease in health care delivery and in the basic sciences.”
Advanced Dual Degree Programs
In addition to MD and MD-PhD programs, the Johns Hopkins medical school offers two dual degree options: the MD-MBA program, and the MD-MS HCM (Master of Healthcare Management) program.
The MD program’s Genes to Society Curriculum is quite unique in the world of medical education. As Assistant Dean Paul White noted in a recent interview it’s a significant remodeling of the prior MD curriculum, in large part to “better address the social determinants of disease.” This goal largely addressed through three ongoing components of the first two years: the 15-month Genes to Society course, longitudinal ambulatory clerkship, and multi-day concentrated TIME courses that typically take place during break periods and between blocks. The rest of the MD curriculum follows a more standard progression model, moving from coursework early on into core clerkships, scholarly concentrations, and finally advanced clerkships in the 4th year.
Before outlining the curriculum as a whole, let’s define and dig into its more novel components.
Genes to Society
The 15-week Genes to Society course system starts with “a grounding in what we’ve learned from the Human Genome Project about human variability, risk, and the ability to modulate disease presentation and outcomes.” It’s structured into 4 blocks of 2 or more sections. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine lists two main goals throughout the Genes to Society blocks:
- Use the scientific foundations to understand the origins, manifestations, impact, and treatment of disease or risk of disease
- Advance students’ professional identity by acquiring the language, problem-solving skills, inquisitiveness, leadership, compassion, and teamwork needed in a physician
Genes to Society integrates many different foundational scientific disciplines and employs various pedagogical and instructional methods, including lecture, readings, small-group work and lab and workshop sections.
Longitudinal Ambulatory Clerkship
Starting far before most schools’ clerkship rotations, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Longitudinal Ambulatory Clerkship (LAC) is in many ways a counterpart to the material covered in the Genes to Society course. For 12 months starting in January of the first year, MD students are placed in a “home clinic” for one 4-hour session each week. In these sessions they practice clinical skills under the direct guidance of supervising physicians, with the goals of developing relationships not only with their supervisors but with the clinic’s patients as well. The emphasis being on primary care, the LAC affords first-year students a greater opportunity to develop their understanding of the day-to-day life of a practicing physician than most MD programs afford. Goals for the LAC include:
- Learning about clinical practice, clinical illnesses, and how these illnesses are affected by social and behavioral systems issues
- Practice and refine clinical skills in a structured and fully supervised environment
- Practice self-directed learning using contract development, reading, and scheduling skills
These multi-day courses include talks from experts from a range of disciplines that touch on healthcare, including SOM faculty, Public Health experts, legislators, and community activists among many others. These courses are typically structured around lectures/talks, skills training, and small-group activities and labs that even include outings to various locations around the campus in Baltimore. TIME courses are not structured around projects or coursework, but rather the contextualization and elaboration of foundational knowledge through more applied situations and discussion.
Scholarly Concentrations Program
Common to all pathways and program tracks is the Scholarly Concentration (SC) program, which allows students to begin conducting specialized research by the end of their first year in areas that include: Basic Science; Clinical Research; History of Medicine; Humanism, Ethics, Education, and the Arts of Medicine (HEART); and Public Health Research.
Check out additional tips that will help you get into Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine:
The Johns Hopkins medical school utilizes AMCAS for its application process, and so follows a similar timeline to most medical schools:
Admissions Statistics and Eligibility
Overall acceptance rate: 2.1%
In-state success rate: 0.2%
Out-of-state success rate: 1.8%
Overall GPA: 3.95
Science GPA: 3.96
The Johns Hopkins medical school accepts applications from in- and out-of-state applicants, Canadian applicants, International applicants, and DACA status applicants. They do not, however, accept transfer students.
Check out Johns Hopkins admission stats, available programs, and interview format:
Pre-requisites and Recommended Courses
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine pioneered the use of medical school prerequisites for their MD program, and today maintains a continued commitment to demanding high standards for applicants’ pre-medical work. There are some important criteria with regard to these:
- Preparation in foreign universities must also include at least one year of work at an approved university in the United States
- Prerequisites must be completed by August 1, just prior to matriculation, but can be indicated as being in-progress in the application for conditional acceptance.
- CLEP course credits—credits obtained through a CLEP test and not a standard or online course structure—are not accepted.
In addition to prerequisite courses, candidates are also required to show competency in computer literacy, communication skills, and teamwork skills. In addition to communication skills in English, it is strongly recommended that students also have basic conversational skills in a non-English language. These proficiencies may be shown simply through the presence of relevant coursework on a student’s transcript, but it may be helpful to show these skills in one’s AMCAS personal statement or secondary application essays.
Tuition and Debt
Medical school tuition remains remarkably high in general, and unfortunately the Johns Hopkins medical school is no exception to this trend. However, although it may involve racking up considerable debt over your 4 years of attendance, the benefits of graduating from a world-class medical school typically include a significantly higher earning power and, depending on your eventual specialty, a career as one of the highest paid doctors in medicine.
Johns Hopkins offers the following breakdown of annual fees and expenses for the first year. The only significant change in successive years is the lack of matriculation fees after the first year, the elimination of imaging fees following the second year, and the addition of USMLE fees as indirect costs in years 2 and 3. Room and Board will of course vary depending on a student’s choice of abode, as well as the amount of travelling for conferences etc. in a given year.
Total Cost of Attendance: $89,126
Average Graduating Debt: $103,884
Approximately 85% of students in the Johns Hopkins medical school who apply are approved for some form of financial aid. Aid packages usually include some form of medical school scholarships and loans, and are calculated based on a combination of information provided by the student’s FAFSA and CSS Profile applications. Once the student’s estimated family contribution is calculated they are assigned a Cost of Attendance (COA) budget, and the school’s Financial Aid office then awards additional aid—such as institutional scholarships and loans—to make up for the difference. Given the number and affluence of many of Hopkins’ alumni and donors, there are more than 250 opportunities for direct scholarship aid available to medical students each year. Overall, the school also boasts more than $331 million in federal research grants and contracts, making the possibility of additional funding through research and other scholarly projects quite likely.
Funding for MD-PhD students, as with most other PhD programs, is more substantial and guaranteed. Incoming MD-PhD students are automatically considered for grants provided by the National Institute of Health’s Medical Scientist Training Program award. This program affords incoming MD-PhDs full tuition, stipend, and insurance. Unfortunately, however, the NIH funding program is only available to US citizens and permanent residents.
Like most medical schools, Johns Hopkins selects candidates for first-round interviews based on the strength of AMCAS application materials, and specifically who evidence the following characteristics:
We can address each of these characteristics with respect to the various elements in the AMCAS application.
GPA and MCAT
Although Hopkins’ admissions committee emphasize the importance of qualitative characteristics described in the personal statement and letters of recommendation, a candidate’s GPA and MCAT score will be massively influential in securing an interview. And with a 2% overall acceptance rate, Hopkins matriculants understandably boast some significant achievements in these two departments. Average matriculant GPA was a sizable 3.95, and median MCAT score was 521, with a range of 517 to 525.
Trends in matriculant MCAT scores aren’t especially informative, though median score on the CARS section was approximately 2 points lower than in other sections. This perhaps speaks to Hopkins’ emphasis on science education, but this is in general an overall trend—most medical students find MCAT CARS strategy the hardest to perfect, and so tend to score slightly lower in this section. Regardless, you should strive to score as highly on all sections of the MCAT as you can in order to stand a good chance at acceptance.
This means committing to an MCAT study schedule that best fits your overall timeline. Determining when to start studying for the MCAT is your first step, followed by taking an MCAT diagnostic test. Individual study plans will vary by student and schedule, but ideally, you’ll want to begin your preparation about 6 months ahead of your exam date, and gradually shift from review to long blocks of practice questions in the final months. You may also benefit from working with an MCAT tutor or prep service, especially if you’re on a restrictive timetable or are coming from a non-science background.
Your AMCAS Personal Statement is incredibly important in all medical school applications, but especially for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As noted above, you’ll want to address the non-coursework competencies mentioned above if possible, but don’t do so at the cost of telling your story. The most important aspect of your personal statement is its honesty and narrative quality—it’s far more important to tell your story honestly and invitingly than to rattle off highly curated noteworthy characteristics for two pages. Essentially, your essay must answer the question ‘Why do you want to be a doctor?” Reading through medical school personal statement examples from accepted applicants is a good place to start, taking note of how they weave in accomplishments without listing or merely “telling.”
Letters of Recommendation
The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine does things slightly differently than some medical schools in this regard. Not only do they accept the so-called “Committee Letter,” which is a medical school recommendation letter written by a group or committee of faculty members, but they in fact prefer it. Although this borders on speculation, this may be tied to the guideline above that Hopkins seeks out students who both show strong leadership abilities and who can work well in teams. Having a Committee Letter not only shows a student’s commitment to medicine—i.e., has shown promise in multiple courses or contexts—but also shows good organization skills and an ability to maintain strong relationships. Not to mention the additional requirements involved with a committee letter like advising appointments and meetings. In short, while this may be an intimidating preference, it is in every way in line with the overall values of the program, and should ideally be a source of encouragement that you’re headed into a program which values your more humanistic talents and abilities.
The Committee Letter can be substituted for 3 individual letters—2 in sciences 1 in non-science—but we greatly recommend doing whatever you need in order to procure the former. Additionally, the experience will help prepare you for your eventual MSPE meetings when you begin preparation for residency.
Premed extracurriculars are almost uniform among recent matriculants:
Interestingly, only 32% of matriculants listed paid medical/clinical experience, but this is a significant increase compared to previous years in which around 20-25% of matriculants made this claim. In short, it is imperative to have shadowing experience and research or lab work on your CV. Shadowing is especially easy to set up, fortunately, and it you’re wondering how to ask to shadow a doctor the process is fortunately quite straightforward. The important thing to remember in crafting your request is that it will almost assuredly not be the first your chosen doctor has received, either that year or in the past, so trust that you need only politely and sincerely express your desire to do so and, very briefly, explain why you’re seeking a career in medicine. Most doctors are quite happy to help, but those you know beyond mere acquaintance should of course be your first choice.
If selected to complete the Secondary Application, candidates are required to complete the following essay prompts as part of the application:
- Briefly describe your single, most rewarding experience. Feel free to refer to an experience previously described in your AMCAS application. (2500 characters)
- Are there any areas of medicine that are of particular interest to you? If so, please comment. (2500 characters)
- Briefly describe a situation where you had to overcome adversity; include lessons learned and how you think it will affect your career as a future physician. (2500 characters)
- Briefly describe a situation where you were not in the majority. What did you learn from the experience? (2500 characters)
- Wonder encapsulates a feeling of rapt attention … it draws the observer in. Tell us about a time in recent years that you experienced wonder in your everyday life. Although experiences related to your clinical or research work may be the first to come to mind, we encourage you to think of an experience that is unrelated to medicine or science. What did you learn from that experience? (2500 characters)
Interviews begin in mid-August and follow the traditional medical school interview format. Each MD or MD-MBA applicant will receive 2 interviews, one with a faculty member and the other with a senior medical student. MD-PhD applicants will receive 5 interviews spread over 2 days, with varying groups of admissions committee members and other faculty who share their research interests. MD-PhD candidates also have numerous opportunities to meet with current students throughout this 2-day session. Interviews are typically scheduled for a range of times on Thursdays and Fridays. Be sure to check out some Johns Hopkins medical school interview questions to start preparing!
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Johns Hopkins MD program website
Johns Hopkins MD program admissions page
1. What is a good MCAT score for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine MD program?
The median MCAT score of matriculants was 521, but for the purposes of studying a good score is the best you can do. If needed you can retake the MCAT up to 3 times in a given year, so if your initial score is below 521 you may wish to retest, but this is in most senses a very drastic choice that should be avoided if possible. Start early and study well, but ultimately try to divorce yourself from studying for a specific score.
2. What dual-degree programs does Johns Hopkins offer?
In addition to the standard MD program, the Hopkins School of Medicine offers dual programs in MD-MBA, MD-MSHCM, and MD-PhD.
3. What is a good GPA for the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine?
The median recent matriculant GPA was 3.95.
4. How much does it cost to attend the Johns Hopkins MD program?
Annual costs average about $89,126, and the average debt for graduates is $103,884.
5. What is the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s overall acceptance rate?
In recent years, just about 2%. Slightly higher than some, but much lower than most.
6. Does the Johns Hopkins MD program accept transfer students?
Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of applicants and the structure of their curriculum, they do not accept transfer students.
7. Are there prerequisites?
Yes, there are specific requirements for coursework in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Humanities/Social Sciences, and Mathematics. These aren’t especially extensive, usually 1-2 courses in introductory fields, but they are absolutely mandatory.
8. What types of Letters of Recommendation does the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine accept?
A Committee Letter is required, but if students are not given this option by their undergraduate university they may submit 3 individual letters: 2 from science faculty and 1 from non-science faculty.
Like our blog? Write for us! >>
Have a question? Ask our admissions experts below and we'll answer your questions!